25 August 2019
Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday as battle intensifies in the US midterm elections. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday as battle intensifies in the US midterm elections. Photo: Reuters

Trump touts economy as US midterm vote nears

US President Donald Trump touted economic growth and painted a grim picture on immigration in rallies with Republican candidates before Tuesday’s midterm elections in the country.

“America is booming. Republicans passed a massive tax cut for working families and we will soon follow it up with another 10 percent tax cut for the middle class,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana, Reuters reports.

Last December, Trump signed into law the largest tax overhaul since the 1980s, which slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and temporarily reduced the tax burden for most individuals as well.

Apart from economic growth, Trump also focused on his hard-line immigration stance as he sought to fire up his conservative voter base.

“The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan to flood your communities, depleting our resources and flooding our nation,” Trump told the Montana crowd. “We don’t want that.”

Control of both houses of the US Congress, currently dominated by Republicans, and 36 governors’ offices will be at stake when Americans vote on Tuesday.

Interest has been unusually high for a non-presidential election year, with early voting running well ahead of past cycles, Reuters noted.

Opinion polls and nonpartisan forecasters generally show Democrats with a strong chance of taking the 23 additional seats they would need for a majority in the House of Representatives, which they could use to launch investigations into Trump’s administration and block his legislative agenda.

Republicans are favored to retain control of the Senate, whose powers include confirming Trump’s nominations to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court.

As of Friday night, almost 32.4 million people had cast ballots early across the US, according to The Election Project at the University of Florida, which tracks turnout.

That is up more than 50 percent from the 20.5 million early votes cast in all of 2014, the last federal election when the White House was not at stake.

On Sunday Trump and former US president Barack Obama made dueling election appearances, offering sharply different views on the country’s problems but agreeing on the high stakes for voters in the final 48 hours of a tight campaign.

With opinion polls showing dozens of tight US congressional and gubernatorial races, the current and former US leaders said the results would determine what kind of country Americans live in for the next two years.

“This election will decide whether we build on this extraordinary prosperity we have created,” Trump told a cheering crowd in Macon, Georgia, warning that Democrats would “take a giant wrecking ball to our economy.”

Obama condemned Trump, without addressing him by name, and Republicans for what he described as their divisive policies and repeated lies.

He hammered Trump and Republicans for repeatedly trying to repeal his signature healthcare law while at the same time claiming to support the law’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

“The only check right now on the behavior of these Republicans is you and your vote,” Obama told supporters in Gary, Indiana, during a rally for endangered Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.

“The character of our country is on the ballot,” he said.

Obama said Republicans were taking credit for the economic renewal that started under his presidency.

“You hear those Republicans brag about how good the economy is, where do you think that started?” he asked.

In the battle for the Senate, Democrats are defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, including a handful that he won by double digits.

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